1 ; pack your bags & spread your wings

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1 YEAR LATER ; RUBY’S POV.

“Do we have to go home? I mean, it’s not like England needs us…” Zoe groaned; her head lolling as she lounged in the sun. It was the summer holidays, and we’d all decided we needed a trip, especially I; if it was my decision? We would never even make it home, but I doubted Jaz could last another week and Megan was sick of having to cook for us all the time, Aaron missed being able to skate for hours and not sweat like a pig, Jeremy was at breaking point. So, due to popular demand, I was currently stood in mine and Zoe’s room, packing while she sat on the balcony and lapped up the Spanish sun.

 

Unfortunately, yes, but you know what they say about good things…” I sighed.

 

“They must all come to an end? How philosophical, Ruby.” She laughed, sipping more of her lemonade (she was on a strict ‘no more cocktails’ diet) and grabbing her mobile. I just let out another long sigh, folding the remainder of my clothes and watching as a silver bracelet fell from the pocket of one of my jeans…

 

I recognised it immediately. Those weren’t my jeans and that wasn’t my bracelet.

 

“Jaz!” I yelled, I felt bad, having to bring her in here under these circumstances, but I couldn’t just keep the bracelet, she had to do something about it whether or not she wanted to. At first, I was apprehensive, she hadn’t been herself the whole trip and I was sure something like this would push her over the edge; but yet she surprised me once again.

 

“Hm?” Her head poked round the door as I held up the bracelet, her eyes widening, her lips forming a hard line. She paused, for a few seconds, and then she smiled. “Throw it over the balcony.” I was taken aback, to say the least, even more so when she left the room without another word. She wanted me to —Throw it over the balcony? The bracelet in question was the one that Harry had given her, it seemed light years ago now, but it had happened. She had been in love with this boy, she had shared everything with him, the bracelet was a token of that, but that was Jaz.

 

When she ended it with someone, she didn’t leave loose ends.

 

Their split happened a few months ago, roughly six months, when One Direction truly got back into the music industry. It was rocky, to say the least, with all of us… But they were really struggling. It had upset us all, none of us stayed together except Zoe and Niall, but Harry and Jaz didn’t speak. They were not spoken about in each other’s presence, they would not look at pictures of each other, Jaz refused to even listen to their music; it had all gone terribly wrong in the worst ways.

 

I turned to Zoe who was already looking at me, slightly bewildered she shook her head. “There’s nothing we can do, they’re better off without each other if you ask me.”

 

“Zoe!”

 

“What? I’m just saying what everyone else is thinking, truthfully? Neither of them were mature enough to handle a relationship, they both like fucking about too much, they need to understand what they’ve been looking for has been right in front of their eyes the whole time.” And she called me philosophical.

 

“But there’s just one thing in the way, right?” She didn’t say a word, but we both knew what name should have been uttered in that silence. “Finish packing.” I mumbled and she stood silently, walking to her suitcase and placing the remainder of her things within the container. I felt terrible, talking about her behind her back, but it all just… Slipped out. I was supposed to be her best friend; I was supposed to protect her from bitchy girls and backstabbers, so why was I becoming one? Briefly, I pinched the bridge of my nose before zipping my suitcase shut and taking a deep breath; now wasn’t the time for worrying.

 

I would miss the Spanish sun, I would miss how it melted away all my worries, I would miss the late nights and early mornings, but I would miss its simplicity even more after the next few, drastic events.

 

A knock on the door started it off, like a chain reaction, Aaron stepped in with a smile. “Roo, there’s a beach party tonight, feel like going before we leave?” Zoe wasn’t interested, she was trying to pack her bags without tripping over the shoes still littered across the floor of my parents’ beach house, so I answered for her.

 

“I don’t know maybe we should just stay in until 5? When our flight leaves?” He scoffed and his lips parted to protest but the sound of screaming cut me off, I blinked three times, as if that would help me hear what was happening. But it didn’t and I only became more confuse as the seconds ticked on and the screaming shifted into yelling.

 

I didn’t move until I heard the smash.

 

Me, Aaron and Zoe couldn’t have moved any faster, the corridors of the beach house blurred as we moved from room to room, looking for the source of the noise, hammering down the stairs and stopping in our tracks as we witnessed the scene unfolding in the kitchen.

 

“Jaz! Stop!”

 

“You’re supposed to be my fucking brother! You don’t do shit like this to me!” The source of the smash was lying in pieces against the far wall, a vase my Mum had bought at some Spanish flea market, nothing irreplaceable. I stared at Jaz, unable to say anything, instead letting Aaron lunge forward and grab her arms.

 

“What the hell did you do?!” Zoe yelled as Megan came running down the stairs.

 

“What the- Ooooh.” A hand flew to her mouth as she took in the scene, Jaz briefly escaping from Aaron’s grasp and throwing a plate at Jeremy, he ducked seconds before it hit the cabinet he had been stood in front of and the sound of swears echoed around the kitchen.

 

“Jaz! Please! You need to- Shit!” Another plate whizzed past his head just as Aaron grabbed Jaz’s arms once again, my face draining of all colour, Mum really liked that plate goddamit. “I did it for you!”

 

“Don’t. You. DARE.” She spat, finally slumping to the floor and taking a few deep breaths, Aaron didn’t let go of her wrists though, making sure she didn’t go psycho bitch- I mean, well… I meant psycho bitch. Zoe kneeled down and rubbed her back, waiting for her to compose herself, looking up at me for an answer. Jeremy was clutching at his t-shirt, practically wetting himself with fear.

 

“So? You wanna tell me what you’ve done?” He bit his lip.

 

“Okay, a few things: a) It’s not my fault, b) I still love you guys, and c) Please don’t hate me.” My eyes widened, Megan furrowed her brow, and Zoe stopped rubbing Jaz’s back and stood up straight. “I forgot to tell you something.” We stared at him, for what seemed like… Centuries, and finally, he spoke. “Faye texted me, her brothers football team just drafted in a new striker-“ I rolled my eyes, ready to open my mouth and let words like ‘stop being stupid’ and ‘over exaggeration’ roll off my tongue, but what he said next stopped me. It chilled me to the bone. “It’s Louis, Tomlinson. They bought a house together and… It’s on our street. They’re coming back to sixth form, Ruby.” I choked.

 

“But why… Why is Jaz throwing plates at you?”

 

Hesitation.

 

“I’ll tell you why I’m throwing plates at the little rat bag.” Jaz stood, dusting off her shorts and shooting Jeremy a look that could cut through steel. “He invited Harry to stay in our guest room.” And that was it, Jaz’s face crumpled as she ran off, her feet pounding against the floor boards above our heads, but I was stuck, somewhere between realities and… Nightmares.

 

I felt Megan hug me but it was useless. Those boys had come into my life and turn it upside down, and now they were back. I crossed my fingers.

 

I was begging that worked when it came to love, I didn’t want to fall again.

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